News Column

Patent Application Titled "Locally Significant Search Queries" Published Online

July 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Upstill, Trystan G. (Palo Alto, CA); Grushetskyy, Oleksandr (Cupertino, CA); Damian, Andrei (San Francisco, CA); Panda, Navneet (Mountain View, CA); Ozgur, Aysel (Mountain View, CA), filed on June 16, 2011, was made available online on June 26, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Google Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This specification relates to search query processing.

"The Internet provides access to a wide variety of resources such as video or audio files, web pages for particular subjects, book articles, or news articles. A search system can identify resources in response to a text search query that includes one or more search phrases (i.e., one or more words). The search system ranks the resources based on their relevance to the search query and on measures of quality of the resources and provides search results that link to the identified resources. The search results are typically ordered for viewing according to the rank.

"Some search systems can obtain or infer a location of a user device from which a search query was received and include local search results that are responsive to the search query. Local search results are search results that have been classified as having local significance to the particular location of the user device. For example, in response to a search query for 'coffee shop,' the search system may provide local search results that reference web pages for coffee shops near the location of the user device. Many users in various geographic regions will likely be satisfied with receiving local results for coffee shops in response to the search query 'coffee shop' because it is likely that a user submitting the query 'coffee shop' is interested in search results for local coffee shops.

"However, there are some search queries that may have higher local significance in one geographic region than other geographic regions. For example, most users in the United States that submit the search query 'mimosa' are likely to be satisfied receiving non-local search results, such as search results referencing informational web pages that describe mimosas. However, there may be a geographic region where the term 'mimosa' has different local significance, such as referring to a local cafe. In this geographic region, users may be more interested in receiving a search result referencing the local cafe rather than search results referencing informational web pages about mimosa drinks in general. In these geographic regions, users may be more satisfied if the reference to cafe is included in the search results that are presented in response to the search query for 'mimosa.'"

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In general, one innovative aspect of the subject matter described in this specification can be embodied in methods that include the actions of A method performed by data processing apparatus, the method comprising: receiving a general search query that does not include a location phrase, wherein a location phrase is one or more terms that specify a geographic location; detecting a user location that is associated with a user device for which the general search query was submitted; determining that the general search query is a locally significant query for the user location; creating a local search query using the general search query and a location phrase representing the user location; requesting a set of general search results responsive to the general search query and a set of local search results responsive to the local search query; selecting, from the set of general search results and the set of local search results, a final set of search results responsive to the search query, the final set of search results including at least one search result that is included in the set of local search results, and is not included in a pre-specified quantity of highest ranking search results from the set of general search results; providing data that cause presentation of the final set of search results. Other embodiments of this aspect include corresponding systems, apparatus, and computer programs, configured to perform the actions of the methods, encoded on computer storage devices.

"These and other embodiments can each optionally include one or more of the following features. Determining that the general search query is a locally significant query for the user location can include determining that the general search query has been received from user devices associated with the user location at least a threshold number of times over a specified period. Determining that the general search query has been received from user devices associated with the user location at least a threshold number of times over a specified period can include: computing a local query count for a reference period, a local query count specifying a number of times that the general search query was received from user devices that are associated with the user location; computing a local query count for a specified period, the specified period being different than the reference period; and comparing the local query count for a specified period to the local query count for the reference period. Methods can further include determining that the local query count exceeds the expected query count by at least a threshold amount.

"Determining a user location that is associated with a user device can include detecting a geographic identifier that specifies a geographic region for the user device that submitted the general search query. Creating a local search query using the general search query and a location phrase representing the user location can include creating a local query that includes the general search query and a location phrase that specifies the user location.

"Creating a local search query using a general search query and a location phrase representing the user location can include: selecting, from a set of locally significant search queries for the user location, a locally significant search query that matches the general search query; and creating a local search query that includes the selected locally significant search query and the location phrase.

"Selecting a final set of search results responsive to the search query can include selecting a pre-specified quantity of general search results to be presented in an available quantity of presentation positions of a search results page; and selecting local search results to be presented in a remaining quantity of presentation positions of the search results page.

"Selecting a final set of search results responsive to the search query can include selecting, for inclusion in the final search results, local search results that have at least a minimum threshold click-through-rate when presented in response to the local search query. Selecting a final set of search results responsive to the search query can include: selecting, for inclusion in the final search results, general search results having result scores that exceed a result score threshold, wherein the result score threshold represents a minimum result score required for a search result to be presented in an initial search results page; selecting, for inclusion in the final search results, a local search result that has a result score for the local query that is higher than a result score for a general search result that has been selected to be included in the final search results; and removing, from the final search results, a general search result having a lowest result score.

"Selecting a final set of search results responsive to the search query can include: selecting, for inclusion in the final search results, a first quantity of highest ranking general search results; selecting, for inclusion in the final search results, a second quantity of highest ranking local search results; and selecting a presentation order for the selected search results, the presentation order being selected according to result scores for the search results.

"Determining that the general search query is a locally significant query for the user location can include determining that a map query rate for the general search query exceeds a threshold value, the map query rate for the general search query being a ratio of a quantity of map queries for the general search query relative to a total quantity of queries for the general search query, wherein the quantity of map queries for the general query specifies a number of times that the general search query was submitted through a map interface presenting the user location. The location phrase can be selected from a set of location phrases consisting of a city and a zip code.

"Particular embodiments of the subject matter described in this specification can be implemented so as to realize one or more of the following advantages. A data processing apparatus can provide more relevant search results in response to receipt of a single general search query by providing local search results when the general search query is determined to be a locally significant search query for a particular user location. Users are provided information that has been determined to be relevant to their location in response to providing a general search query that does not include a location phrase. Thus, users that submit general search queries can receive local information without providing a local search query. A data processing apparatus can provide relevant data more efficiently by reducing the specificity of information requests (e.g., search queries) that are required to obtain the relevant data.

"The details of one or more embodiments of the subject matter described in this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, aspects, and advantages of the subject matter will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example environment in which a search system provides search services.

"FIGS. 2A and 2B are block diagrams illustrating example data flows corresponding to classification of search queries as locally significant queries.

"FIG. 3 is a flow chart of an example process for providing search results responsive to a general search query that is determined to be a locally significant query.

"Like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements."

For more information, see this patent application: Upstill, Trystan G.; Grushetskyy, Oleksandr; Damian, Andrei; Panda, Navneet; Ozgur, Aysel. Locally Significant Search Queries. Filed June 16, 2011 and posted June 26, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=956&p=20&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140619.PD.&OS=PD/20140619&RS=PD/20140619

Keywords for this news article include: Google Inc., Information Technology, Information and Data Processing.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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